Google’s AMP project is not new and was initially launched back in February 2016, however, a year later it seems that it has finally hit the mainstream.
AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages is a new protocol on how mobile pages should be designed and delivered. The project came about after Google published figures that suggested 60% of online searches were conducted on mobile devices and over 50% of digital media consumption took place on a smartphone or tablet. Couple that with the results from Kissmetrics which found that 40% of mobile users leave a page if it doesn’t load within three seconds, and you have a strong argument that something needs to be done.
These figures spurred on both Google and other developers to create a new kind of light-weight web page that aims to speed up the load process considerably. In practice, AMP pages strip out unnecessary elements such as branding, navigation, sidebar content and even Google ads. The AMP pages also load in the content that is specifically above the fold to give the illusion of a lightning-fast page load time.
Despite being around for over a year, only 25% of the top news stories used AMP-optimised pages last year. This year, however, that figure has increased to almost 75%. This is a great step for content marketers, as it further highlights the importance of well written and useful content. Those looking to create content that pulls people onto their website to make a purchase, sign up for something or click an advert will fall by the wayside, as good content is present at the top of Google in a clean and easy to read format.
AMP-optimised content is great. As Google themselves explain, AMP is in theory good for everyone:
Consumers can find and read the content they are interested in quickly and easily.
Creators have a more focussed audience who are less likely to click an advert that will take them away from the website. The faster loading pages also mean the user experience is better for their readers.
Social media companies such as Facebook can use AMP-optimised pages for their news articles section. These articles will load faster, meaning visitors will be more likely to see additional pages and similarly, drive ad-revenue.
Whilst this sounds amazing in theory, it is yet another blow for advertisers, as many pages will have their ad content stripped as a result. Ad blockers are already a cause for concern for many digital marketing companies and with more content being consumed via this new format, it means less eyes on adverts.
At present, there will be some short-term costs involved, as smaller publishers will need to hire a digital marketing agency to optimise their web pages for AMP. Currently, AMP has mainly been adopted by big news outlets like the BBC, The Guardian or The Wall Street Journal, although many non-news related websites have started to embrace this new format.
Google has not confirmed whether or not AMP-optimised pages perform better in search than standard content, but the fact that Google does consider website mobile speed a ranking factor indicates that having AMP-optimised pages will definitely help.